Quinta makes landfall; Signal No. 2 in 9 areas

(6th UPDATE) MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Quinta (Wukong) has made landfall twice as of Wednesday morning, December 26, with the state weather bureau placing 9 areas under Storm Signal No. 2. 

On Tuesday, Quinta made landfall at around 7 or 8 pm in Homonhon, Eastern Samar, said state weather forecaster Ricky Fabregas in a phone interview with Rappler. 

Then at around midnight on Wednesday, Quinta made landfall in Abuyog, Leyte, according to forecaster Nelson Dianela in a separate interview.

Based on its latest bulletin issued at 11 pm, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) raised Signal No. 2 (61-100 km/h winds) over the following areas:

PAGASA meanwhile raised Signal No. 1 (30-60 km/h winds) over the following:

PAGASA said Quinta packs maximum sustained winds of 75 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 90 km/h. 

Quinta is moving west at 24 km/h. It is forecast to be at 30 km south of Coron, Palawan by Wednesday evening, December 26.

It is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility, at 560 km west northwest of Coron, Palawan, by Thursday evening, December 27.

Flash floods, evacuations

The estimated rainfall amount within the 350 km diameter of the storm is 10-20 mm/h (heavy-intense).

PAGASA advised residents living in low-lying and mountainous areas under storm signals to watch out for possible flash floods and landslides.

Those living in coastal areas under Signal No. 2 should brace for big waves or storm surges generated by Quinta.

Fishing boats and other small vessels should not venture into the seaboards of Luzon and over the eastern seaboards of Visayas and Mindanao due to the combined effects of Quinta and the northeast monsoon or hanging amihan.

In some affected areas, Quinta has forced residents to evacuate. "We advise local disaster management councils to take precautionary measures. These councils should be convened as they will prepare communities for possible effects of the typhoon," Office of Civil Defense-Region VIII Director Rey Gozon told Rappler in an interview. (Watch more in the video below)

Hundreds of passengers also remain stranded due to the storm.

Officials 'prepared'

The weather bureau already warned on Monday, December 24, that rain would fall over Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental on Tuesday, a bitter reminder of typhoon Pablo, which killed over 1,000 people weeks before Christmas.

Disaster officials said they remain prepared for any eventuality from the storm.

HIT AGAIN. Despite the devastation of Typhoon Pablo in the province of Agusan del Sur, loggers continue to haul fallen logs along the national highway. Photo by Karlos Manlupig

HIT AGAIN. Despite the devastation of Typhoon Pablo in the province of Agusan del Sur, loggers continue to haul fallen logs along the national highway.

Photo by Karlos Manlupig

'New rivers' after Pablo

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council executive director Benito Ramos urged local officials to disseminate disaster warnings through community leaders and media outlets.

“Emphasis should be on proactive actions – evacuation rather than rescue,” Ramos said.

“Let us untiringly aim for zero casualties,” he added, echoing a similar call before typhoon Pablo struck the Philippines.

Disaster scientist Mahar Lagmay warned against the new “rivers” formed by Pablo, threatening residents as they cover populated areas.

Christmas remained bleak for some 24,500 families affected by Pablo. In Cateel and Banganga, Davao Oriental, residents told Rappler they have nothing to offer on the Christmas table aside from prayers.

Those who want to help them may do so through Rappler's “Text to Help” campaign. – Rappler.com